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Ruckus Wireless selected by Sonaecom to support nationwide IPTV service in Portugal

Ruckus MediaFlex NG enables wireless IPTV to 3.6 million households targeted throughout Portugal

Ruckus Wireless has today announced that it has been selected by Sonaecom, Portugal's second largest telecommunications provider, to supply its MediaFlex multimedia wireless systems for Sonaecom's fast growing Clix SmarTV IPTV service.

Smart Wi-Fi is a ground-breaking technical advance in Wi-Fi that for the first time allows delay-sensitive traffic and services, such as digital TV and voice, to be reliably transmitted over standard 802.11 frequencies. 

Launched in April 2006, Clix SmarTV was the first IPTV service offered in Portugal.  It remains the only IPTV service available to Portugal's 3.6 million households.

With the Ruckus MediaFlex system, Portuguese consumers will now be able to extend the location freedom that they enjoy with Wi-Fi technology to their television viewing experience.  The Ruckus MediaFlex allows Clix and its customers to place televisions virtually anywhere within their home without running cumbersome and costly cabling to each TV.

The Ruckus MediaFlex system is based on standard 802.11g Wi-Fi that allows Sonaecom to cut installation times in half by requiring only a single installation technician to be on site. 

"The Ruckus system delivers economies of scale that let us dramatically reduce installation times and the costs associated with those installations, while allowing us to speed the rate at which IPTV installations can be performed," said Susanna Barbato, Sonaecom's director of IPTV.  "Our goal is to make the installation experience as quick and pleasant as possible for our customers.  Smart Wi-Fi technology is enabling precisely this."

Barbato noted that Sonaecom's goal is to move to a self-install model where consumers can simply receive the Ruckus MediaFlex or purchase it in a retail outlet and install the system themselves.  This will provide IPTV on demand and enable the installation of additional TVs as quickly and as easily as needed.  "Self-installation allows the subscriber to drive the installation process when it is convenient for them, without being handcuffed by the operator."

In the longer term, Sonaecom can use the Ruckus MediaFlex system to support both IPTV and data within each subscriber's home.  Each Ruckus MediaFlex router supports multiple wireless networks, each of which can be devoted to a specific service with distinct parameters and security settings.

"Sonaecom chose Ruckus Wireless because they think like their customers," said Selina Lo, president and CEO of Ruckus Wireless.  "Consumers want location freedom and instant gratification for all their multimedia content and services - all without wires.  Smart Wi-Fi is the only technology that can deliver this today."

Reaching 1.6 million homes with its national network, Sonaecom currently offers a full range of triple-play services to broadband subscribers.  Portugal has one of the highest penetration rates of PayTV in Southern Europe and 1.4 million broadband access lines.  Sonaecom delivers IPTV over an ADSL2+ infrastructure offering broadband speeds of 12 Mbps and 24 Mbps at EUR29.90 and EUR39.90 per month respectively.  For a nominal price, consumers can purchase the Ruckus MediaFlex router and adapter to support location-free IPTV.

Sonaecom offers a complete triple-play bundle and a variety of IPTV packages within its Clix SmarTV brand.  Clix SmarTV includes a complete line-up of MPEG-2 broadcast television, video on demand (VOD) and subscription video on demand (SVOD), with more than 100 channels and several entertainment packages including premium broadcast from Discovery Channel, Disney, and movies from major Hollywood studios including Warner Bros and Buena Vista.  The packages are priced from EUR8.90 to EUR34.50 per month.

PacketFront launches the industry's first NPU-based router for the FTTH access segment

Advanced Services Router (ASR) 5000 set to revolutionise how broadband networks support future developments and coming end user demands

PacketFront, a specialist in open-access broadband networking, has launched the first NPU (Network Processing Unit)-based advanced services router, which is said to provide unmatched performance and full support for coming functions being developed in the future.  Through this sophisticated, and for the FTTH access segment, new way of designing broadband routers, the need for expensive hardware upgrades are eliminated.  Crucially, it provides network owners with infinite flexibility to support future developments, important as nobody can tell which applications, features, functions or standards will be demanded or required in the time to come.

Intended for FTTH access and cost efficient broadband aggregation, the Advanced Services Router (ASR) 5000 secures the high-quality delivery of advanced and concurrent triple-play services to countless end users via one single broadband connection - provisioned automatically.  This advanced services router supports virtually any application and its powerful design enables seamless software upgrades without compromising on performance - completely doing away with the need to predict and anticipate future service demands. 

Up until now, companies have been forced to invest heavily in hardware upgrades in order to cope with ever-changing network and service requirements.  The financial and efficiency implications of this have been massive due to the cost of hardware exchange and the inevitable downtime during equipment switchovers.  Before PacketFront's solution, access equipment would not allow for advances in features, standards and protocols, placing demands on the networking industry to make predictions about the future.  The NPU-based design of the ASR 5000 makes e.g. advanced service personalisation, identification, control and capitalisation of peer-to-peer traffic, advanced measurement of multicast traffic and SLA monitoring a reality, and all software updates are made fully automated. 

"Unfortunately, crystal-ball gazing is not a credible business tool, but up until now, the networking industry has had to make 'guestimates' about likely future services networks or network equipment would need to support - and that hasn't always been beneficial for customers," said Martin Thunman, CEO of PacketFront.  "We're very proud to have designed a broadband router offering network owners and service providers an endless scope of future services and applications, and end-users true choices.  It's another step towards making the deployment of FTTH networks not simply a pie-in-the-sky notion, but a business critical choice."

Enterprise VoIP over Wi-Fi equipment market to reach $15bn by 2012, claims research

Market to be led by Cisco Systems

According to a new report by Juniper Research, Cisco will be the undisputed leader in both the Enterprise VoIP Access Point market and the VoIP WLAN Switch/Mobility Controller market in the next few years. Juniper estimates the total market to be worth around $2bn this year growing to $15bn in 2012.

Report Author, Basharat Hamid Ashai said that "Cisco has a worldwide market presence and huge resources that makes it difficult for any other vendor to take market share. Other vendors such as Aruba Networks, Trapeze Networks, Proxim Wireless and Meru Networks are poised to face stiff competition, not being able to maintain a lead for more than two or three consecutive years. However, these companies are growing at a good pace and are almost on a par with each other in terms of the success in this sector."

VoIP Access Points
VoIP Access Points for enterprises are expected to reach over $5bn in revenues by 2012, growing from $930m this year. North American revenues are expected to grow from $442m in 2007 to $1.75bn in 2012. EMEA and Asia Pacific revenues are expected to reach $1.7bn and $1.6bn respectively by 2012.

VoIP WLAN Switch/Mobility Controllers
VoIP WLAN Switch/ Mobility Controllers for enterprises are expected to reach almost $8bn by 2012, growing from just under $1bn in 2007. North American revenues are expected to grow from around a $0.5bn in 2007 to $2.7 Billion in 2012 with EMEA and Asia Pac revenues reaching $2.7bn and $1.4bn respectively by 2012.

VoIP over Wi-Fi handsets (single mode) are predicted to ship $155m worth in 2007 increasing to $1.5bn by 2012. North American revenues are to grow from $93m this year to $600m in 2012. EMEA and Asia Pac is expected to touch $480m and $324m respectively by 2012. The report found that Spectralink (acquired by Polycom) is expected to lead the single mode VoIP over Wi-Fi handset market for the coming few years aided by its powerful OEM relationships with Avaya, Inter-Tel, NEC, Alcatel and Nortel.

Qtel manages growing subscriber base with Apertio One

Apertio has announced that Qtel is using the Apertio One-HLR (Home Location Register) to manage record subscriber growth. Qtel, with subscribers on pre and post paid, 2G, 3G and new generation, is utilising a single Apertio One-HLR for all its network and subscriber data.  Providing an instantly scalable solution, Apertio One-HLR enables Qtel to continue to offer a premier service across its diverse customer base.

Through Apertio's distributed architecture, enabling real-time replication across geographically disparate sites, business continuity and network integrity is assured, which is critical in a time of growth.

A growing customer base is only part of the story as Qtel subscribers create three to four times the amount of network traffic of their European counterparts.  Effectively managing this increased traffic and guaranteeing network performance is made possible through Apertio One-HLR's highly scalable, multi-dimensional platform.

"With Apertio we are able to rapidly and cost effectively scale to meet subscriber and traffic growth," said Fahad bin Jassim Al Thani, executive director, wireless at Qtel.  "Apertio One-HLRs centralised directory, based on open, IT standards-based software, allows us to instantly access subscriber data and places us in full control of new service deployment."

Qtel also benefits from reductions in OPEX and CAPEX as Apertio's unique software based applications require little capital expenditure and only minimal support levels, allowing Qtel to focus resources into new service generation and its new generation infrastructure.
 
"There is growing industry recognition that conventional core network infrastructures based on proprietary hardware is costly, inefficient, and more importantly inhibits growth and expansion," said Andrew Wyatt, Chief Product Operations Officer at Apertio. "Qtel recognised that in order to continually enhance and expand its services, a software-based approach to core networks was the only way it could do so in a cost-effective manner. This also lays the foundations for full IP-based services."
 
Apertio One-HLR is a module of the Apertio One portfolio of software-based core network products, built on open industry standards, transforming traditional networks by enabling communications service providers to place the subscriber at the heart of their businesses.

Nokia to set up a new mobile device factory in Romania

Nokia has today announced that it will set up a manufacturing facility for mobile devices in the county of Cluj in Romania. Nokia anticipates investing an estimated EUR 60 million in the Cluj plant, which will be the company's 11th mobile device production facility globally.

The decision to establish a new factory in Romania is a reflection of Nokia's strong volume growth globally, as well as the increasing demand for mobile devices in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Nokia selected Cluj as the location for the plant because of the county's availability of skilled labour, its good inbound and outbound logistics connections, its overall efficiency, and the long industrial tradition in the area.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed today in Romania's capital, Bucharest. At the signing, Raimo Puntala, Senior Vice President for Nokia's Operations and Logistics, said: 'As the global market leader for mobile devices, Nokia is committed to ensuring good product availability and smooth deliveries to important markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.'

Nokia's new facility in Cluj is located about 400 kilometers north-west of Bucharest. The construction work at Cluj will start in spring 2007 and production is expected to begin in the first half of 2008. Nokia foresees ramping up the factory gradually and will recruit approximately 500 employees there by the end of 2007. As part of the plans, Nokia is looking to establish an industrial village in the area, enabling a number of key suppliers and partners to locate their operations there.

Thomson's DVB-H Mobile TV solutions pass trials with Orange Spain

Orange Spain pilots Thomson’s head end equipment and Mobile TV service platforms with Viaccess content security

Thomson has announced that Orange Spain has completed successful technical trials using Thomson’s mobile TV solutions in conjunction with Viaccess solution for secured content protection, Purple-TV.  The tests, which were started in December 2006, used a range of Thomson’s solutions for mobile delivery, including the SmartVision service platform and Grass Valley Opal IP encapsulators, Argos Mobile encoders and Lazulite management systems.

Serge Mal, General Manager of Thomson’s Network Intelligence Solutions commented “Being part of one of the first ever successful trials using this simulcrypt technology clearly illustrates the compatibility of all Thomson’s solutions for video services delivery. We are looking forward to future collaborations with both Viaccess and Orange Spain.”

“Simulcrypt technology is a breakthrough development in video content protection and this is one of the first ever trials.” Added José Manuel Ortiz,  Technology Innovation Director of Orange Spain. “With the completion of positive successful technical tests using Thomson’s DVB-H solutions with Viaccess content security we are looking forward to the next phase of trials in the user environment.” 

“Viaccess’ Purple-TV solution allows conditional access to digital Pay-TV content for operators and device manufacturers ” explained Mathias Hautefort, Viaccess CEO. “Thomson and Viaccess are already powering France Telecom’s IPTV services globally and this project in Spain was the ideal opportunity for us to put the interoperability of Thomson’s mobile TV solutions to the test. As Viaccess is reinforcing its presence in the mobile market and strengthening its leadership in Mobile TV security, this successful cooperation will enable us to pursue numerous further opportunities in Europe and elsewhere”.

Telesur Suriname selects Comverse Real-Time Billing and SMS Solutions to support rapid subscriber growth and uptake of advanced services

Comverse, a leading supplier of software and systems enabling network-based multimedia enhanced communication and billing services, has announced that Telesur has selected Comverse’s Real-Time Billing Solution (RTBS) and Short Message Service Center (SMSC) to replace legacy competitor systems in its GSM network in Suriname.

“We selected Comverse solutions because of their flexible open architecture, rich roadmaps and opportunity for operational efficiency,” said Frans Eersteling, Product Manager of Mobile services, Telesur. “We have rapid market growth and need to be able to quickly and reliably launch new services. Comverse solutions answer our business needs and the local usage habits of our diverse marketplace including support for multiple languages.”

Comverse's Real-Time Billing Solution provides real-time authorization, rating, charging and control of voice calls, data services and m-payment transactions, and supports rapid subscriber growth. Marketing functionalities, such as real-time promotions, usage awards and discounts help operators drive revenues, while features such as real-time credit limits minimize risk. By bundling Comverse’s high-capacity Short Message Service Center with its advanced Real-Time Billing Solution, operators can improve network efficiency and speed time-to-market of popular new SMS services, such as news flash services and SMS voting.

Wi-Next powers Europe's widest municipal mesh network

Wi-Next technology provides broadband access to 21 remote Italian villages

Wi-Next, an open-source Wi-Fi company, is to provide broadband access to the Italian region of Alta Langa for the first time as part of Europe’s largest ever wide-area Wi-Fi mesh project.

Alta Langa is a mountainous area in North Western Italy that encompasses 21 small villages and a population of over 8,000 spread across a wide-area (218,740 km sq). Due to the economic and geographical constraints of delivering ADSL in the region, the new network marks the first time the region has been able to bridge the “digital divide” by offering wireless broadband access and enabling greater communications between the public administration and its citizens.

The project - which began two years ago - uses Wi-Next’s NAAW system, an open-source Wi-Fi mesh technology developed in conjunction with the Automatics and Informatics Department of the Politecnico University in Turin. It completely replaces the need for wireline broadband systems such as ADSL by creating an organic mesh network that every network client to operate as a network node and communicate with each other, allowing the network to be extended quickly and efficiently.  Unlike traditional Wi-Fi networks, which use a centralised model with a single access point, NAAW uses a “many-to-many” model that continually reconfigures itself and maintains the network even as nodes are added or removed. 

“We have solved the problem of the ‘digital divide’ by offering the access to the internet ‘always and everywhere’, just like in a big city,” says Michele Ferraudo, the designer of the installation. “The gap is not only digital, but also cultural. We have developed a real wireless network that allows people to connect to each other, makes communications possible between the Public Administration and its citizens thanks to encrypted VPN, and has the potential to offer many new innovative services as well.”

The project was developed in conjunction with the Union of Mountain Communities (UNCEM) and BBBELL, a local operator from Turin responsible for delivering the high-speed radio connectivity for the different villages in the region.

The new NAAW-based network provides the platform for a range of new services that can be rolled out over the coming months thanks to close co-operation between the public (Alta Langa, UNCEM) and private (Wi-Next, BBBELL) stakeholders in the project. New services are expected to include public transport services, hot-spots and low-cost home broadband. 

‘We have overcome many technical and legal challenges but are now ready to extend services to all citizens and companies in the region,” said Alessandro Barbero, the President of Alta Langa. “We aim to offer to every family or company in Alta Langa a tested and efficient broadband service at a fair price.”

BT announces new mobility services for the Spanish market

BT has announced the launch of its mobility services in Spain as part of an agreement reached with Vodafone Spain. The new mobility service will be the first in the Spanish market aimed at businesses and the public sector. 

Through the agreement, BT will become a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) extending its global portfolio of services and solutions to include networking, information technology, communications and mobility. According to the terms of this agreement, BT will operate through Vodafone Spain’s mobile network. 

The new mobility service offering will be available in the summer and will allow BT to offer its customers value-added mobility services such as mobile video-telephony, audio/video streaming services, location based services or fixed-mobile convergence services, BT will be able to offer its customers a single supplier for all their networked IT services requirements – with one contract, one bill and one integrated customer support function

Luis Álvarez, chairman of BT Spain, said: “Convergence is the new paradigm of services our customers demand. We are delighted to be able to meet their requirements now that we are able to offer mobility services to complement our existing portfolio.  This announcement gives BT the ability to accelerate the roll-out of innovative mobility services, most important of which will be enhanced functionality on our ground-breaking fixed-mobile convergence service, BT Corporate Fusion that launches in Spain this summer.”

Rakesh Mahajan, BT’s Global Director of Mobility, said: “Across the globe, modern business is increasingly mobile – with employees needing simple, secure, reliable access to information and resources whether they are travelling, at home or in the office. This agreement with Vodafone Spain means that our corporate and government customers in Spain can come to us for all of their mobility needs.

“This announcement exemplifies our global commitment to offer our business and public sector customers a comprehensive suite of services that span fixed networking, IT and fixed communications, as well as mobile voice, messaging, mail and even company-specific applications.”